Rashoman Essay


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Rashoman Essay

  1. 1. Sherrie Adduci Senior Seminar p.4 September 21, 2010 Truth versus fact: In Rashomon how do they compare? The film Rashomon, set in12thcenturyJapan depicts the four different points of views concerningthe murder of a samurai and the rape of his wife by a notorious bandit, Tajomaru. Shortlyafter, Tajomaru is capturedand put on trial, except his story and the wife's storyare so drasticallydifferent that a psychic is brought in to have the murderedman give his own testimony, but his too is far different from the others. Lastly, a woodcutter who found the body of the samurai reveals what he saw and yet again, his versionis diverse from all the others. Accordingto Roger Ebert, truth is suggestive. The truth can depend on the person, like perception. It is Ebert’s belief that the perceptionof apersonis true to their beliefs, therefore truthis relative. Unlike Ebert, Morris is an absolutist. This means that his belief is that there’s just one whole truth. People canhave different perceptions, but that doesn’t make their perceptions accurate. This is similar to Plato because of the belief of just one reality. Morris believes it is inaccurate for someone to claim somethingto be true just because of their point of view. Therefore, in the movie Rashomon, Morris feels that just because the people have different perceptions doesn’t meanthat there are multiple truths. Most may agree with Roger Ebert’s view of truth. This and perception relatesto the film, Rashomon, because althoughtruthis a strict being, it is very complexand can have many different aspects, thereforedifferent peoplemayhave different truths to a situation.
  2. 2. According to Ebert, truth is suggestive and the truth can depend on the person, thereforesimilar to perception. Perceptionis away of regarding, understanding, or interpretingsomething;a mental impression, it is how organisms see the world around them. In Rashomon everycharacter has their own insight, they have their own version of what happened and who are viewers to say if it’s true or not since they do not know themselves?The trust varies from the different perceptions. Ebert expresses that the movie’s truthis that it depicts the point of views of eachcharacter but this can be false because Ebert says “human beings are unable to be honest with themselves about themselves.”So, how does one figure out the whole truth? Maybe the whole truth doesn’t exist. It is possible, and probable that truth has many folds and layers. Furthermore, Ebert’s belief that truthis suggestive is less opinionatedthan Morris’ due to its leniencytowards perception. Truth may be suggestive, but this can be hasty because in the end, the situationdid occur inone way, but no one may ever know the fact behind it, furthermore the commonbeliefthat truthis based onfact versus fiction is flawed. Although one may agree with Ebert’s belief that truth can be suggestive, this does not condone truth or fact to relysolelyonperception. For example, if three people witness a bank robbery, and one of the witnesses claims the robber to have black hair, and the other two witnesses claim them to have dark brown hair, this does not mean that all three witnesses are correctjust because their perceptions vary. So, what is fact, and how is it determined?Is it merelya piece of information usedas evidence? If it is, then what is truth? Similarly, truth is oftendepictedto be parallel to fact, but truthisn’t just an apparatus to prove something. Truth can alter a person’s
  3. 3. culture, beliefs andtraditions. Truth is what forms one’s personality;it is far more personal than a simple ‘fact’ because it does have many aspects to it. This is why many will relate more to Ebert’s point of view on truth. In Rashomon everycharacter has their own insight, they have their own versionof what happened and who are we to say if it’s true or not since we do not know? Ebert expresses that the movie’s truth is that it depicts the point of views of each character. Ebert’s belief that truthis suggestive relates to the plot and theme of Rashomon inmany ways. There are four characters in Rashomon, and although many would suppose that when it comes down to figuring out who is to blame for the death of the samurai, four people would bound to have similar stories, or at least a couple of the people. This is not the case in Rashomon. All four people have different stories; thereforethe viewer of the film must use their own perceptionto figure out what they believe reallyhappened. This can be very controversial. In the end, truth is not analogous to fact. Much like Ebert’s beliefs, one shouldalso believe that truth in itself is extensive and intricate. According to Ebert, truth is relative and his view on Rashomonis that each person’s perceptiononwhat happens can be classifiedas true, because it is what he or she believes and sees to be the truth. Divergently, Errol Morris’beliefis that Rashomon is not a film regarding the subjectivity of truth; there is no objective truth, just subjective truth. Morris believes truthexists, but that people possess avested interest innot knowing it. It is more likelythat one will agree with Ebert because they, as humans, oftendeem that truth differs from personto person. In Rashomon, who are viewers to say which characters are lying and which are being honest?A
  4. 4. personmust form their own perspective onthis, and take each character’s perception into considerationbefore determining, if at all, the truth.